Nitya Mehra, Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Prashant Nair, Alankrita Shrivastava, Neeraj Ghaywan
Arjun Mathur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi
7 Episodes, 60 Minutes Each
Web series on streaming platforms have warranted a far more emotional investment both for actors in the cast and from the viewers who would try and get involved in the characters. Their sequels, however, are rarely as engrossing as the original first season of episodic developments.
And for the same reason, I, for one, am a tad sceptical about watching successive seasons with as much enthusiasm as I am for the preceding ones. Unless it is 'Made In Heaven'.
Season 2 of this series is a compelling watch and though there isn't anything spectacularly novel about its storyline, the production values, immaculate writing and superb acting by the entire cast makes it riveting.
'Made In Heaven 2' represents what present-day India is all about. Conservative on the one hand and modern in many ways with progressive mindsets of traditional people who face conflicting ideas to deal with at every step.
The show has often been accused of catering to the affluent and the prosperous. At the same time, its protagonists are seen dealing with everyday emotions, exertions and toils as also dilemmas that any and every commoner is forced to confront. The contradictory narratives overlap at times, and that is the real fun of watching this unputdownable series.
'Made in Heaven 2' continues six months after the finale of Season 1. What seems like yet another struggle by the entire team of wedding planners to execute their carefully thought-out plans and please their clients, the unusual demands of a slew of some very interesting, powerful, loaded, dripping with opulence men and women make the sloggers face nail-biting urgency as they try to adjust dates, venues and budgets.
Tara's life is even more complicated. She wants to file for divorce and Jim Sarbh is more than willing to oblige her when his current girlfriend (Kalki Koechlin) is in the family way.
But all is not lost. There's rescuer Ramesh Jauhari (Vijay Raaz), whose timely intervention makes him own one-third of their business, but it also salvages them from going bankrupt. Jauhari offers his old house for them to set up the new office after their earlier office gets vandalised and destroyed.
His wife Bulbul Jauhari (Mona Singh) joins the organisation as auditor to bail them out. A stickler for maintenance of books, she can also be overbearing with her constant insistence on cutting corners.
All the episodes have a couple planning a wedding for themselves as Tara and Karan dance in attendance to please their clients and accommodate their every demand.
As expected, each household waiting for the wedding bells to ring has a number of issues at hand. If there's a female film actor betrothed to a chauvinistic rich man who beats her, there's also a 25-year-old who abandons his plans of going to study in Berkelee and proposes to a woman 10 years older to him. There's another rich Muslim wife (Dia Mirza) whose husband (Pravin Dabas) has no qualms about polygamy and is tying the knot again.
The seven-part series has a lot more understanding of relationships, a few of which take on the sexual orientation of characters in search of a partner. There's also a transgender, Meher (Trinetra Haldar), who asserts her identity with a sense of pride that has a straight guy (Neil Bhoopalam) fall for her.
That she heads a team at the company is not something that has been rubbed in. Like other employees who help Tara and Karan in the office perennially plagued with problems, notably Jaspreet 'Jazz' Kaur (Shivani Raghuvanshi) and Karan Basrai (Shashank Arora), Meher, too, contributes to solving major crises from time to time.
Nearly all the episodes take up several complex yet everyday issues that afflict people and relationships. At times, critiquing to the extent of sermonising, some scenes do stretch beyond being believable and bearable. But it's the quality of actors that rises above so much that a few flaws go almost unnoticed.
Each member of the star cast, from Dhulipala, Mathur, Koechlin, Radhika Apte to Shivani Raghuvasnhi, Shashank Arora, Ishwak Singh, Vijay Raaz and Jim Sarbh are all perfectly cast in their roles. But it's Trinetra Haldar and Mona Singh who become scene stealers.
What follows are weddings being designed for various couples as we get introduced to Adhira Arya (Mrunal Thakur); Kriti Malhotra (Neelam Kothari); Ashok Malhotra (Sanjay Kapoor); Gulshan Raina (Samir Soni); Gargi Raina (Naina Sareen ); Leila Shirazi (Elnaaz Norouzi); Amber (Parul Gulati); Pallavi Menke (Radhika Apte); Aditi (Shibani Dandekar); Radhika Sharma (Sheena Khalid); Wasim (Parvin Dabas).
The show is lavishly mounted on a scale that does justice to the lifestyles of the filthy rich families in the national capital. Cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis does a great job of enhancing the splendid plush interiors of each set. Alongside the glitter, the camera also moves to give us a glimpse into the late nights of satellite towns of Gurugram.
The entire music department comprising Ritwik De, Ishaan Gandhi, Gautam Kaul, Adam Klemens, Tarana Marwah, Pranav Pahwa, Pranay Parti, Balkrishan Sharma, Sayan Sinha and Samarth Srinivasan deserve a special mention for blending the understated music flawlessly with the mood of the mostly sombre series.